Mumbai attack - outsourcing impact

Is India still regarded as a safe place for offshore call centres and software development? Following the attacks in Mumbai today, which targetted UK and US citizens, the two biggest India stock markets have shut down. The Foreign Office has recommended people avoid travelling to India unless absolutely necessary.

A representative of leading Indian outsourcer, Tata Consulting Services, told Computer Weekly he has just cancelled his trip to Mumbai due to the attack.

What do you think? How safe is outsourcing to India, given the current climate.

And will you be cancelling your travel plans to India? If so let us know by adding a comment to this blog.

We have pulled together a Twitter feed for latest updates from Mumbai terrorist attacks – see below.

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“In light of the recent attacks in Mumbai, businesses need to be reviewing their health and safety policies with regards to business travel. In situations such as this, the most obvious advice is that if you don’t need to be visiting hazardous locations such as Mumbai, don’t! If you must travel, be it for business or personal reasons, it is important to select a suitable hotel- something that is often more difficult than people may realise. Where high profile hotels often provide excellent personal safety compared to a ‘no-frills’ hotel, it is important to choose wisely. Though hotels, such as Hilton and Marriott are at a higher risk from bombings or attacks, they still provide excellent security features as opposed to low cost options where the risks for kidnappings and other malicious acts is inherently greater. After selecting a hotel, the location of room itself can also help during this sort of situation. The best room to request is one facing the back of the hotel, preferably facing away from the front entrance and the nearer the ground floor, the better. The recent attacks against foreigners demonstrate the need to escape quickly and inconspicuously.”
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By Cynthia O'Donoghue, Partner and Head of Outsourcing EME, Reed Smith. While the recent activity in Mumbai may give some people pause for outsourcing to India, this is not something that should stop people's confidence. India is still safe place for outsourcing. India is a highly developed marketplace for outsourcing which is spread across various cities rather than located in one hub, such as Mumbai. Companies who are outsourcing to India need to ensure that their supplier has robust disaster recovery, business continuity plans and security procedures. Notwithstanding the attacks in Mumbai, outsourcing still makes good commercial sense.
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India/Pakistan is politically unstable. It has been since '47. It will only get worse. That's just reality. As long as you have religious war -- and that's what's behind everything -- among two unstable, nuclear armed states, you can count on more and more of this. I mean, really, do we have to worry about the Protestants fighting with Catholics in the U.S.?
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Is India really any different to alot of other locations for Outsourcing, not unusually so. Plenty of other Outsourcing location favourites could be considered at just as much risk as India for such attacks, or if they have a lower risk they may have higher risks of different events occuring. In any consideration for Outsourcing (and Offshoring) such risks need to be considered as part of the assessment. Strategic arrangements should untake PEST analysis (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological factors) as part of the pre outsourcing analysis. Some businesses may now opt to remove outsourcing arrangements from India, but these may purely be driven by a very short term view. As has already been mentioned, good Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery arrangements should be in place to cover such events. Any Outsourcing arrangements that don't have adequate plans in place should address this and not leave it to chance
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Alsbridge, Inc. just published a a really great free white paper: Are You Concerned With Security in Your Offshore Outsourcing Operations? The report looks at terrorism, labor unrest, economic environment, political stability etc. in Argentina, Brazil, India, the Philippines, Poland and Russia. You can download the whitepaper at www.OutsourcingLeadership.com/white-paper.
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I dont think businesses will leave India. India is full of highly techie people. Good for their business!
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